Pumphrey's Bethesda-Chevy Chase Funeral Home
7557 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda, MD

Constance E. Berkley, Ph.D, age 82, died peacefully at The Methodist Home on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Born in Washington, DC on November 12, 1931 to Lorenzo R. Gresham and Annie M. Goldsby, she graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University and her doctorate from New York University. An author, educator, editor, poet and world-traveler, Dr. Berkley taught African, Islamic and African American Literature and Culture at Vassar College. She co-founded the United States-based Sudan Studies Association and was a recognized expert on the life and work of famed Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih.  She was formerly married to Louis Berkley who died in 1999. She is survived by sons, Robert C. Berkley (Debbie Phillips) and Richard Berkley; stepson, David Berkley; grandchildren, Margaret and Sam; daughter-in-law, Robyn Berkley; many nieces, nephews, dear friends, students and caregivers. She was predeceased by a sister, Antonelle Jones and brother, Lorenzo Gresham, Jr. Her family will receive visitors at a viewing from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 26, 2014 at PUMPHREY'S BETHESDA-CHEVY CHASE FUNERAL HOME, 7557 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, MD. Memorial contributions may be made to the Noepe Center, P.O. Box 1041, West Tisbury, MA 02575 for the Constance E. Berkley Poetry Scholarship.  Please view and sign the family guest book at  

Published by The Washington Post on Apr. 25, 2014.
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9 Entries
My condolences and sympathies.
Ihab Salah Hashim
May 19, 2014
A great colleague, teacher, and one of the most compassionate people that I have met and worked with in life. She was very passionate about Africana Studies at Vassar College. May her soul rest in Peace.
Ismail Rashid
April 29, 2014
I am very sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in family, friends and prayer (Psalm 65:2) during this difficult time.
April 28, 2014
Wishing you peace and strength during this difficult time.
Much love to you both,
Scott, Dianne, Christian and Tyler
April 26, 2014
Dear Rob, Debbie and Family...........Jesse, our children and I would like to send to you our deepest sympathies. We are here for you and are sending our love to you at this painful time. May your beautiful and smart and talented mom rest in peace. Love, Jesse, Maria, Natasha, Juliette, Chloe, Maeve, Moses, Neve, Malick and Bette
Maria Cannone
April 26, 2014
Sending my deepest sympathy to the family of Dr. Berkley. I was one of her advisees at Vassar. She taught me the significance of the human condition and the significance of me. She taught me that every human being experiences the same love, joy and sorrow. She taught me that despite a world that continuously tells me that I am not...I Am. She helped me find my voice. She listened. She loved. She gave. She served. I spoke with her a few years ago. She was ill and had to retire. As we ended our phone conversation, the last words she said to me was, "Terrence, I will always remember you!" It caught me by surprise because no one had ever said that to me. I hung up the phone, burst into tears, and immediately called her back and told her, "Dr. Berkley, I will always remember you too." We hung up and those were the last words we spoke to each other. Dr. Berkley, I love you and honor you. The world will never be same without you. My life is better....I am better... because you lived!
K. Terrence Oliver
April 25, 2014
You are all in my thoughts & prayers during this time of loss & sorrow. May the joyful memories flood your heart and comfort you.
Lori Phillips Gagnon
April 25, 2014
A wise guiding spirit during my time at Vassar. May she rest in rest. Allah rahmet eylesin.
Berin Golonu
April 25, 2014
I would like to offer my condolences to you on the loss of your loved one. The pain experienced because of death can seem unbearable. May you allow the peace of God to help you to endure this grief. (Phillipians 4:6,7)
Theresa H
April 25, 2014
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